Wednesday 25th December 2019

FROM all the management and players at Dumbarton FC, a Merry Christmas to all.

The festive season is a special time for many people, and it’s no different in football, but being involved in the game it can be different.

I’ve never played in a game on Christmas Day, but I have had to train that day, as player and manager, when my team has had a game on Boxing Day.

It’s tough to leave your family at home over Christmas, especially when they’re young, while you go to the game or the training pitch.

But if you want to play football or manage at the top, you have to make sacrifices and that’s one of them.

At part-time senior level it’s a bit different. The players were in for training yesterday (Christmas Eve) and will be in tomorrow (Boxing Day) as well, but they have Christmas Day to spend with their families.

And a great present for us would be three points against Stranraer on Saturday as we continue our bid to be successful in League One.

We are fairly pleased with how we have progressed this season, and there has only been the odd matchday where we’ve come away thinking we could have done more. The hard work will continue and hopefully there will be more reward in the second half of the campaign.

If I could ask Santa for one thing for the team this year, it would be a consistent run of results between now and the end of the season.

The successful teams are the ones who put extended sequences of results together, week on week, without letting anything get in their way.

We headed to Kirkcaldy on Saturday off the back of a good result at Forfar, but the game at Station Park was in the past by then. Raith was another game entirely and we wanted to produce another result.

Similarly, while Saturday at Kirkcaldy was very pleasing, it is now in the past and we look for another result against Stranraer this weekend.

It may sound boring aiming to do the same thing week in, week out, but when it’s winning football matches it’s never boring. There may well be roadblocks ahead but it is up to us to ensure we navigate them.

What other teams do is of no concern to us. We can only manage our own results and see if we have done well enough come the end of the season.

I know there will be keenness off the pitch to know what is going to happen squad-wise in January. The simple answer is that we need to wait and see.

Three of our players are on loan deals which are due to expire in January and we’re hopeful of retaining them, but it will depend on our resources and the willingness of their parent clubs to let us have them back.

We are always looking out for ways we can strengthen the squad, but again, this is dependent on our resources and if it is a loan deal, how willing the parent club is.

I can assure everybody that we will be working hard over the coming weeks to ensure that by January 31, our squad is as strong as it can practically be.

We are all looking forward to the opportunity to face Aberdeen in the William Hill Scottish Cup next month – but not looking too far forward. We have three important league games before our attention turns to that.

It will be a tough test for us, and you will probably see Derek McInnes in the crowd at one of our games before then. A team from our league held Aberdeen to a draw at the same stage of last year’s competition and even though the Dons won the replay, he’ll want to avoid a repeat.

But games against Stranraer, Falkirk and Clyde stand in our way before that and right now, the only game our attention is focused on is the Stranraer one.

Finally, I would like to thank all of our supporters and sponsors for their input over the first half of the league season. It has not gone unnoticed and we will do our utmost to reward you over the second half of the season.

Please have an enjoyable day today, and whatever time you are away from your workplace, and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday to face Stranraer.

Jim Duffy

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